Elon Musk has been under scrutiny by US federal authorities regarding his approach to privacy and security measures since his leadership began at X (previously known as Twitter).
New details were made available to the public on September 11, 2023, when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) released a court document. This highlights the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ongoing investigation, initiated in March 2023, into Musk’s management of Twitter Blue and the ‘Twitter Files.’ These are a collection of internal Twitter documents that were made public between December 2022 and March 2023.
In 2022, when Jack Dorsey was still at the helm, Twitter faced a $150m fine from the FTC. This led to a mandate demanding improved privacy and security protocols through an administrative directive.
The recent court document implies possible breaches of this directive by Musk after he took the reins of the company.
The document points out that Musk’s tight grip on X Corp led to an “unruly climate,” and the extensive layoffs under his watch hampered the company’s ability to meet the FTC’s requirements.
The FTC referred to a statement by Damien Kieran, the former chief privacy officer at Twitter. Kieran mentioned that the launch of Twitter Blue was so rapid that it bypassed the standard “security and privacy evaluation consistent with the company’s software development methodology.”
Moreover, the US authorities have expressed apprehensions about some of Musk’s actions, including the reshuffling of servers among data centers. This was disclosed by ex-employees during the FTC’s probe and reportedly goes against established Twitter protocol.
The court document also posits that Musk shouldn’t be excluded from giving court testimony regarding X’s undertakings as he has been “intimately entwined in the core reshaping” of the organization.
While no official response has come from either Elon Musk or X Corp regarding the latest court document, Musk had previously labeled the FTC’s probe in March as “a regrettable instance of a government body being misused for political aims and silencing the truth.”